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Reports are circulating the web that Merge Network will be temporarily disabling registration for new US players. Apparently, this is being done in an effort to allow payment processing issues to be fixed and ease support backlog. While already registered players residing in the US will be able to continue playing on the Merge Network (Carbon Poker, Lock Poker, RPM Poker, Felt Stars Poker-formerly Reefer Poker, Hero Poker), but no new signups will be accepted after Friday, June 3rd, 2011, though this is supposedly temporary.

This is just another drop in the bucket for the decline of US online poker, as the past seven weeks have not been its best. Prior to April 15th, 2011 will be forever referred to as the “hay day” when online poker accounts flowed freely to US players. Now most of the US poker sites have either withdrawn from the US market on their own accord or have been shut down by the US Department of Justice. And then of course, UseMyWallet shut down, and then Merge Network put an end to their rakeback deal on the first of June.



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Now, Merge poker sites will temporarily back out of the US market, a move that they assure is not permanent, but they cannot predict a date that they will once again start taking new US signups. The only thing they can promise is that it will not affect current US players or current non-US players (or future non-US players for that matter). So, the best thing to do for those players who do not already have an account at one of the Merge Network skins is to sign up NOW! That way you’ll have an account just in case in the future, it’s the only last option for US players, which it seems to be very close to that point already.

Because rakeback was ended June 1, a rush of new players signed up. Now the same thing will inevitably happen with this new announcement, but as soon as they get everything caught up, they say they will open back up. You can’t help but wonder though if all of this is just part of a bigger plan in a strategic effort to evade the DOJ. However, since Black Friday, the Merge Network has reportedly grown by 76%, so it makes sense that they would need to regroup after so many new players have joined the network.

Cake Poker Network and Yatahay may or may not be next on the list of hits by the DOJ. Only time will tell, and right now there are a lot of unknowns regarding the future of online poker.

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